TransferWise: Transferring money abroad

TransferWise: Transferring money abroad by 401K

This article was written by Megan Aves, published on 20th October 2014 and has been read 10756 times.

Megan Aves is studying for a BA in Modern Languages at the University of Roehampton. She is spending her year abroad studying at the Universidad de Nebrija in Madrid and the Université d'Angers. Here she tells us how she handled her money on her year abroad!

I first saw an advert for TransferWise when I was taking the tube one day in my first year of uni, and I remember thinking to myself that this company could be useful for my year abroad! I made a note of it and then completely forgot all about it until I had to pay my rent.


After an online banking nightmare with my current English bank, I gave up trying to do a transfer with them. They needed several pieces of information, most of which I didn't have to hand (bearing in mind I had left paying my rent until the 30th June, despite it being due on the 1st July). They also wanted to charge me about £70 for the transfer (I was trying to pay about £1600 - 6 months' rent) which seemed a lot but I had never done an international transfer so didn't know any different. I then started complaining to my mum who reminded me of that tube advert!


I got out my year abroad list and within seconds was on the TransferWise website doing the transfer. For some reason, it was simpler using a third party company than my own bank! The website is really easy to use, and I've now done three transfers with them. They have a conversion feature on their website so you know exactly how much you're likely to pay, depending on rate changes, and how much the fee will be. They do, however, take a 'buffer payment' in case the amount changes, due to exchange rates fluctuating. This means that the recipient will always get the exact amount. Each time, I have ended up getting all of my buffer payment back and a little bit extra - bonus!


You can pay TransferWise either via an online payment on the website (which for some reason my debit card didn't like) or by transferring it to them from your online banking. This was so easy, as they give you all the details on screen and it took a matter of seconds to do. As well as being very simple, their fees are so much cheaper, and once you transfer a certain amount with them you can earn a fee-free transfer! You can also recommend friends to get free transfers too, something which I am yet to do. There's also the facility to save your recipients, so transferring for a second time is just a matter of clicking a few buttons! They send three emails throughout the process too to keep you updated and you can log in and check the status of your transfer.


I paid all of my rent upfront, as well as my utilities which has made life a lot easier. I knew, coming out to Spain in September, that everything important was paid for and did so without incurring the pricey fees that my bank wanted to charge me!

What is TransferWise?

Put simply, TransferWise is a brand new, super easy way to send money abroad, without any hidden fees.

How does it work?

TransferWise uses a peer-to-peer technology - built by the people who built Skype & PayPal - which matches aggregated groups, money thereby never crosses borders which keeps fees extremely low. In practise, to transfer money abroad, a user has to make an online payment into TransferWise's bank account for the amount of money they want to transfer to a foreign bank account. After the domestic payment, TransferWise converts the money into the user's currency of choice without changing the interbank's exchange rates and the amount is sent to the foreign bank! 

This process happens usually within 1 working day!

Why use TransferWise?

When you transfer money using your bank, you're charged 5% in "hidden" fees. With TransferWise you only pay 0.5%, and your money is transferred for the mid-market (real) exchange rate - which you can find on Google or in the newspapers. Who wouldn't want to beat the bank? It supports loads of currencies It's super fast and easy to use You can track your money every step of the way You can earn credits and freebies as you go along!

How do I get started?

Transferring money with TransferWise is very straightforward. All you have to do is register on the website and follow the simple instructions!

If you're preparing to spend time abroad, it's worth considering a Caxton FX currency card instead of setting up a foreign bank account. Find out more!

If you would like to comment, please login or register.